HUNTINGTON BEACH Brea Olinda’s second-ranked girls basketball team found a challenge closer to home Friday night. The Ladycats were ready.
Jasmine Rachal made a driving layup with 2.9 seconds to left in the fourth quarter to help lift Brea Olinda past Bishop Montgomery, 55-54, in the finals of the Larry Doyle/Dan Wiley Tournament of Champions at Marina.
Last week, Brea Olinda played several strong teams at the Tarkanian tournament in Las Vegas but needed a clutch performance from Rachal to escape Bishop Montgomery, which led, 54-50 with 48 seconds left.
Rachal sank a 3-point shot from the wing with 43 seconds left to trim the Knights’ lead to 54-53 and set the stage for her game-winning drive. Coming out a timeout, she took an inbound pass under her basket and drove the length of the court for a running bank shot. Bishop Montgomery called timeout but didn’t get its final shot off before time expired.
“It’s a big win for us,” said Rachal, a top uncommitted senior guard. “We were really looking forward to (this game). We knew they were a good team. … It’s going to get us ready for our competition against Mater Dei in a couple weeks.”
Brea Olinda plays No. 1 Mater Dei on Jan. 20.
Rachal scored nine of her 18 points in the final period. She made 4 of 6 shots from the floor in the final eight minutes.
Stephanie Lee also made a key 3-pointer in the fourth for Brea Olinda, shaking off a cold streak. Lee finished with 14 points off the bench. Terree Johnson also added 7 points off the bench.
Kayla Padilla and Samantha Isozaki sank consecutive 3-pointers late in the third to give Bishop Montgomery a 47-42 lead going into the fourth. The Knights made four 3-pointers in the third and led by as many as six points in the final period.
Padilla, a junior point guard, led Bishop Montgomery with 17 points.
In the third-place game:
Aliso Niguel 73, Roosevelt 72 (OT): Abby Miller made two free throws after a hard foul on a drive with 1:06 left in overtime to…